Facebook brings WW1 alive

11 June 2014

As Facebook is such a large part of daily life for today’s cadets, Greater London RFCA seized the chance to work with partners to launch a new Facebook resource called WW1: A Soldier’s Tale.

“It’s fascinating to think about what people would have talked about if Facebook had been around in 1914-18”, said Debbie Wilkinson, Community Engagement Director at GL-RFCA. “This new site, launched today (11 June), looks at the war through a fictional character called Walter Carter. By creating a fictional character, the site can include material on Walter’s family, friends and colleagues, which means it can cover a huge range of events and themes. The information has been thoroughly researched and includes lots of links to further information, so it’s a wonderful educational resource for anyone interested in WW1.”

GL-RFCA worked with Wandsworth Borough Council and David Noble Associates to develop the non-profit-making project to commemorate the centenary. In launching the project David Noble said: “We decided to make Walter a member of 1/23rd (County of London) Battalion, the London Regiment, because they fought in every major battle from 1915 onwards including Festubert, Loos, the Somme in 1916 and 1918, Messines, Ypres, Cambrai, Lille and Tournai.

“To create a believable, likeable character and to update his page regularly and accurately for over four years is no small task. Fortunately, there is a wealth of information available. The experiences of people both on the front and at home have been very well documented so we can get a comprehensive view of how people felt, thought, behaved and spoke during that time. Giving our character an authentic voice is crucial to the project and in Walter we think that we have created a really engaging character who will bring WW1 alive for cadets and adult volunteers.”

David continued: “Walter will make posts about his experiences on his Facebook page around three times per week, in real time. The posts will contain much more than factual information about the battlefield and the Home Front. We will paint a picture of life at war and at home, referencing issues that are still hugely important today – such as the role of the Reserves, the effect of the War on communities, the impact on Service families, the badly injured and the mentally affected – but in a balanced way that includes lighter moments.”

Commenting on the partnership, Col Hugh Purcell, Chief Executive of GL RFCA, added: "This project is another example of the long standing and productive relationship between GL RFCA and David Noble Associates where we have been able to marry our knowledge and expertise to the mutual benefit of each other and importantly in our case to the benefit of our customers and communities; namely the Royal Navy, the Army, The Royal Air Force and their respective cadet organisations."

To explore WW1: A Soldier’s Tale go to: www.facebook.com/WW1SoldiersTale